Joe Biden’s Plan To End Violence Against Women Online Doesn’t Mention Sex Workers
With Joe Biden now preparing to take up office in the White House, talk has now turned to what sort of changes he will make once he’s sworn in as the 46th president.
Among other focuses, President-elect Biden will address the issue of violence against women, building upon his notable track record in this area, and taking into consideration the abuse that many women face online every day.
His plan has been widely praised. Notably, however, the plan doesn’t mention sex workers, a workforce that has had to deal with various unique issues of harassment and abuse online.
This omission was noted in a recent Vice report, with journalist Samantha Cole remarking that the plan is ‘missing a vital component to women’s experiences online’.
Sex worker rights advocate and Oldest Profession Podcast host Kaytlin Bailey told Vice:
Centering expanding the safety net for survivors is exactly the right move. But in order to really understand how this bill is going to affect people, listen to sex workers, [a group] missing from the table, that could shed a lot of light on what the implementation of the policy will actually look like in affected communities.
Meanwhile, adult industry attorney Maxine Lynn stated that she’d like to see the plan amended to recognise the unique needs of sex workers, explaining:
I’d like to see an acknowledgment that consensual sex workers are deserving of protection equal to that of anyone else, and that the government is ready and willing, and has means in place, to support that end.
All of this sounds like a good idea but so long as you’re operating from the faulty foundation of conflating consensual sex work with violence against women, all of this falls apart.
Many sex workers now use platforms such as OnlyFans to build and run their business, meaning a great deal of their work is now carried out online. Any plans to protect women online should of course be mindful of this sector, and the challenges faced by modern sex workers.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays.
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